One of the things about the Fortean omniverse I have always found entertaining is the way that stuff always happens in batches. On the same day that I received this story
about alligators in Alabama, I also received this series of photographs and what purports to be a news story:
"The picture to the left was taken by a KTBS helicopter flying over Lake Wiess about 90 miles north of Birmingham, Alabama. The helicopter pilot and the game warden were in communication via radios; following is a transcript of their conversation:
"Air1, have you a visual on the 'gator? Over. "
"Approaching inlet now; over."
"'Gator sighted. Looks like it has a small animal in its mouth. Moving in; over."
"It's a deer!"
"Confirm, Air1! Did you say 'deer'? Over."
"Roger. A deer, in its mouth. Looks like a full-sized buck . That's a BIG 'gator! We're gonna need more men. Over."
"Roger, Air1. Can you give me a idea on size of animal? Over."
"It's big... 25 feet long...at least! Please advise; 'gator is heading to inlet... Do I pursue? Over."
That has to be a HUGE 'gator to have a whole deer in its mouth! The deer was later found to be a mature stag and was measured at 11 feet! Are you ready to go skiing on Lake Wiess ?! If you ski at the west end of the lake, try not to fall!
This alligator was found between Centre and Leesburg, Alabama, near a house! Game wardens were forced to shoot the alligator... guess he wouldn't cooperate.
Anita and Charlie Rogers could hear the bellowing in the night. Their neighbors had been telling them that they had seen a mammoth alligator in the waterway that runs behind the Rogers' house but they dismissed the stories as exaggerations. "I didn't believe it," Charles Rogers said; however, they later realized the stories were, if anything, understated. Alabama Parks and Wildlife game wardens had to shoot the beast. Joe Goff, a 6'5" tall game warden, walks past the 28-foot, 1-inch alligator (8.5 metres) he shot and killed in the Rogers' back yard.
We sent the pictures to our resident herpdude Richard Freeman who wrote back:
"The Alligator with deer in its mouth was real. The 28 foot 'gator was bad photoshop. The biggest 'gator ever recorded was 19 feet 6 inches and shot in Louisiana in 1890. The biggest in recent years was about 15 feet.
The only crocodilian reliably measured at over 28 feet was a 28 foot 4 inch Indo-pacific croc."
I would like someone with a knowledge of North American deer to take a look at the first two alligator pictures and try to give us a more reliable size estimate.